Eight days ahead of the April 15 general elections, the ruling Democratic Party of Korea pledged that it would relocate government agencies out of Seoul. The relocation has been in its cards since President Moon Jae-in came into office, but it is the first time the ruling party has made an official promise. With criticism that it is an attempt to win over voters, it is likely to rekindle the debate over the effectiveness of relocation.
“I will consult with different regions to formulate a solid plan for relocating government agencies to other parts of the country as soon as the general elections are over,” Chairman Lee Hae-chan of the ruling party said on Monday at an election committee meeting with the Open Minjoo Party and the Platform Party. “The former relocation has contributed little to balanced growth as it was mostly made to near Seoul or large cities in the Gyeonggi Province.”
Since the early days of the Moon administration, the ruling party has showed its appetite for relocation, an initiative first implemented by the late President Roh Moo-hyun. “The government and the ruling party will discuss ways of relocating 122 government agencies based in the metropolitan area, which are subject to the Special Act on Balanced Growth,” said Lee in his speech at the National Assembly in 2018. President Moon Jae-in also said at the new year’s press conference that he would assess the possibility of moving government agencies around the general elections.
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